Faster Traslacion ends at 9 pm
The annual Traslacion or the Feast of the Black Nazarene ended after almost 16 hours, the fastest since 2013 with around two million devotees attending.
The route of the image of the Black Nazarene was shortened to 6.16 kilometer with 14 segments from Quirino Grandstand to Quiapo Church. Compared to previous years, the procession skipped the P. Burgos Avenue- Jones Bridge route.
The Andas (carriage) left the Quirino Grandstand around 4:15 am, reached Ayala Bridge by 7:20 am and finally arrived at Quiapo Church around 9pm.
Last year, the procession took 21 hours while it finished in 18 hours in 2013.
The organizers agreed with the recommendation of the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) to place cops around the carriage and the first one to hold the rope as part of a new security system.
Though this new system made the pace of the procession faster, a lot of devotees expressed mixed reactions after they had a hard time climbing or even going near the carriage.
Based on the new system they tried this year, around two thousand cops secured the carriage wall while 1,000 cops handled the crowd control.
Despite layers of police security, some devotees still tried to get inside causing police and devotees to injure and hurt each other.
Police Lt. Colonel Carlo Magno Manuel, Manila Police District spokesperson, said based on their plan, police will stop guarding the carriage upon reaching Arlegui Street. Devotees took over when they reached Carlos Palanca Street.
Despite previous announcements and requests of authorities, devotees still managed to break the Andas wall made by police officers, even the one placed at Plaza Miranda.
Answering complaints by devotees, NCRPO acting director, Police Brigadier General Debold Sinas said they are willing to investigate alleged abuses of their personnel during the procession.
“If they want to complain, we are willing to investigate. Our personnel were also hurt. It’s okay with us. That’s part of our job and we are happy to serve the people,” Sinas said.
Sinas also apologized for those who were hurt and thanked those who cooperated with them.
“For the devotees, we have our own faith. For me, I thanked those who cooperated with us… those who got hurt, we’re sorry,” he said.
The NCRPO chief said they achieved their goal in making the procession faster.
“Maybe it takes time but at least we achieved our partial goal. Having it faster to return it back at Quiapo (church),” Sinas said.
According to Philippine Red Cross’ initial data, they took care around 1,051 individuals where 679 were given help on their blood pressure and 291 patients were provided of first aid after they suffered from dizziness, shortness of breath, elevated blood pressure, abrasion, laceration and sprain.
Twenty-six with minor medical cases were treated on site while 14 patients were transported to hospital and they conducted psychosocial first aid to 41 people.
Police Brigadier General Bernard Banac, the Philippine National Police spokesperson, said the Traslacion celebration is “generally peaceful”.
Banac said one police officer sustained leg injury and one soldier sustained arm injury during the said event.
“(Traslacion is) generally peaceful and orderly. No major untoward incident reported,” he told The Daily Manila Shimbun in a viber message.
Banac said celebrations of the Feast of the Black Nazarene were also held in various locations outside Metro Manila.
“The total number of devotees outside Metro Manila was 366, 357 with a total number of 2, 004 PNP personnel deployed,” he said.
Aside from the police mobile that was rammed by people, Banac said no other police equipment were damaged during the procession. Ella Dionisio/DMS